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Old 4th June 2021, 04:12 AM   #1
Marbel
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Default Tboli sudeng - vintage photo

Hello all,

I thought you’d enjoy this photo. A Tboli man with his wife and sudeng.

Courtesy TimeLife. Photo by Carl Mydans - July 1970
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Old 4th June 2021, 02:05 PM   #2
Ian
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Great picture. I see the photo is attributed to 1970, which seems rather recent for a T'boli to be wearing a prized sword, unless it was for show or ceremonial purposes. However, neither he nor his wife seem dressed for any special event.

When I first looked at this B&W photo, I thought it was from the early 1900s (although in very good condition). The dress of the man seems pre-WWII and he is wearing a shirt/jacket that looks very much like U.S. military issue circa 1920. So I was surprised to see the 1970 attribution.

Perhaps the sword is just for the camera.
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Old 4th June 2021, 03:29 PM   #3
Oliver Pinchot
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In fact, he doesn't seem to be wearing it-- there is a munsala visible but no means of support. If he is just holding it, this would support Ian's observation. Great photo!
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Old 4th June 2021, 03:59 PM   #4
Marbel
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Default Tboli sudeng - vintage photo

Hello Ian & Oliver,

Thanks for the comments.

To be sure, the photo is definitely from 1970. In fact I think it's important to note that photos of the Tboli from this era are very rare. The Tboli obviously had no cameras and were very rarely visited by anyone with a camera. The earliest Tboli photos I've ever found were dated from approximately 1960 and came from the archive of a Summer Institute of Linguistics missionary who lived with the Tboli for decades.

I'd say that the photo was likely just slightly posed as Mydans was a wonderful professional photographer. The sudeng would not have been used as an every day blade for wearing or working but was certainly carried for a purpose that day. In terms of the occasion, other photos from the same day reveal that it was actually an important one in the mountains as they were being paid a visit by Manuel Elizalde. The Tboli weren't necessarily wearing their finest, but a bit more adornment by the women and plenty of swords by the men are certainly seen in the photos.

All the best!

Last edited by Marbel; 5th June 2021 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 4th June 2021, 07:39 PM   #5
Marbel
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Default Tboli sudeng - vintage photo

Here is another photo taken on the same day.

At first I thought the man near the middle might be the same man above. However while the scabbard looks similar, his hat is different and he isn’t wearing the black ring on his left hand nor wearing all of the earrings shown in the other photo.

It is interesting to see the other weapons in the photo. The man on the left has a sangi on his hip. The man facing us looks to be holding a very traditional Tboli tok and the man on the far right has a nice old Maguindanao sword strapped to his side. Or as the Tboli would call it, a sudeng.
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Old 5th June 2021, 04:04 AM   #6
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Very cool. Is the full set available online for viewing?
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